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'Unbelievable ignorance': Leadbetter rips Ko's parents

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Lydia Ko has won just once in the last three years, and David Leadbetter has a lot to say about her struggles.

Ko's former swing coach said in a recent radio interview that not only does Ko need to take some time away from golf, but that she also needs to "find her own way" away from her parents.

The two-time major champ and 15-time LPGA winner most recently triumphed at the Mediheal Championship in April of last year. It was an emotional victory that saw Ko break down in tears.

That win was supposed to be the end of a nearly two-year slump. But Ko is down to 24th in the Rolex Rankings with no signs of reclaiming the form that made her the youngest world No.  1 in history. 

She most recently missed back-to-back cuts, at the Evian and Women's British Open. At the latter event, rounds of 76-80 left her ahead of only one player in the field: 55-year-old Laura Davies. 

“My advice would be look to take a break right now,” Leadbetter told New Zealand’s Radio Sport, per Reuters. “She doesn’t need to play for the rest of the year.

“Just get her head together, relax, get away from the game and rethink this whole thing.”

Ko, 22, has gone through a number of caddie, coach, swing and equipment changes in recent years, with Leadbetter calling it a "very sad situation."

He was not shy in directing blame.

“Her parents have a lot to answer for – a case of unbelievable ignorance,” he said. “They tell her when to go to bed, what to eat, what to wear, when to practice and what to practice. And they expect her to win every tournament.

“They need to let her go, let her fly, let her leave the nest so to speak and find her own way. If she can do that, we could see Lydia back.” 

This is not the first time Leadbetter has been critical of the Ko camp. In April of last year, just 10 days before Ko's Mediheal win, he wrote a blog post on his own website calling Ko's father a "non-accomplished golfer" and likewise citing the myriad changes Ko had made as being detrimental to her career.

"It just goes to show, that not always is the grass greener on the other side of the hill!" he wrote.